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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Working Vacation

Every NFL team is required to give its players one day a week off, but that didn’t stop Keyshawn Johnson from getting some extra work in Tuesday


WR Keyshawn Johnson enjoyed his increased opportunities to touch the ball on Monday

In basketball, he might be called a 'gym rat'.

Keyshawn Johnson was at One Buccaneer Place on Tuesday, but he wasn't hanging out with teammates, attending meetings or preparing for practice. That's because Tuesday was a day off for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who, like any NFL team, are required to provide one off-day each week for their players. So, instead of the usual day-after-the-game activities following Monday Night's victory, the team headquarters were quiet.

But Johnson was there, getting a little extra preparation in. The Bucs' leading receiver, coming off a seven-catch, two-touchdown masterpiece against the Rams, said his body felt a little sore and the best way he could utilize his off day was to sit and watch some video tape of the Green Bay Packers. QB Shaun King was in Quarterbacks Coach Clyde Christensen's office doing the same thing.

Of course, that also made Johnson fair game for the media, a group of which was on hand for Head Coach Tony Dungy's usual press conference. Johnson stopped to answer some questions regarding the Bucs' thrilling 38-35 win over the Rams. Such as:

*Were you pleased to have a breakout performance in such an important game?

"To me, as long as I contribute and we won the football game, I really wasn't looking at it as a 'breakout game'" said Johnson. "When you have opportunity to have 11 passes thrown your way, you're going to catch seven of them and you're going to put big numbers up, score some touchdowns, do some things like that.

"Hopefully, it will continue to happen from here on out."

Is this a sign of what the Bucs' offense is capable of producing on a routine basis?

"There's always going to be a transition period," he said. "A lot of people don't make a smooth transition when new people come in. Trades happen, things like that, in any sport. This is our transition period, and we happen to be sitting at 10-5. You can't complain about that. We're pulling for some teams to lose this week and hopefully we'll get that first-round playoff bye. I'd rather take the short road to the Super Bowl. I'm not looking for the long road."

How confident were you that Tampa Bay could pull out the victory?

"I felt, when there were two minutes on the clock and we got the ball back, we were probably going to win the football game," said Johnson. "We've been in that situation before, and we came up short twice. In Washington, we took it to overtime and in Minnesota we lost the game, but I felt this time it was going to be on our side. Even though we had no time outs, everybody knew what they were supposed to do – get the ball and get out of bounds.

"That was very important. It was a plus for us to be able to do that. Shaun made some smart throws and everybody knew to get out of bounds when they were near the sideline. It was one of those drives that a championship-caliber team has the ability to make."

What did you see on the play that Warrick Dunn pitched back to Shaun King?

"I thought he was going to pull up and throw," he said. "He looked at me and I was standing over there all by myself, like, 50 yards down field. I was saying, 'Throw it!' He took off running. That was awareness by Warrick and Shaun to be on the same page."

Describe that last Buccaneers drive.

"It was tiring," said Johnson. "The Rams kind of helped us out a little bit when they called a timeout. It was very, very tiring. We probably looked slow towards the end of the drive and you were wondering, 'Are they going to make it?' We were just running on emotions at that point."

On second-and-20 in the fourth quarter, did Shaun King throw a sideline pass to you a little bit high on purpose to use your height?

"A little bit?" laughed Johnson. "It was high. I jumped. I'm supposed to catch that, though. What happened was, I jumped and then looked down to see where I was at, to make sure my feet were in. Once you (look down), you're probably going to lose sight of the ball. I jumped, and the ball had just started to take flight. Even as I jumped, it was elevating higher, and I took my eyes off it." *

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